Monzo bank on the power of TV and cash in big

August 2019

Monzo’s first foray into broadcast TV needed to justify its significant cost to the 4-year old start-up, while establishing a tone of voice for the esoteric brand. The number of monthly subscribers is reported to have surged by more than 100,000 following campaign launch, indicating the “traditional” advertising experiment is paying dividends for the fintech challenger brand.

We were interested in breaking down what drove that gain and understanding whether there was an opportunity for the campaign to work even harder. We tested the launch TVC amongst UK consumers using our Advertising Testing solution, and had the results within a few hours.

We use 3 ‘Cs’ to predict effectiveness:

  1. Captivate: Does it attract and retain viewers’ attention, and engage them in an emotional way?
  2. Connect: Is it instantly recognisable for the brand?
  3. Compel: Does it leave people with a lasting impression about the brand, which primes them to choose it?

Captivate

In a traditionally conservative category, ‘You Make Monzo, Monzo’ featured a cast of young, colourful characters, each showcasing their expectations of a contemporary bank while positioning Monzo as the knight in shining armour. This toed the line between abstract and relatable, creating a distinctive ad that grabbed viewers’ attention (a good interest rate!). The fun, vibrant and humorous approach, combined with a refreshingly simple and honest take on banking, helped the ad stand out from competitors.

Connect

‘You Make Monzo, Monzo’ sees the disembodied voice of Monzo following the camera and taking advantage of every opportunity to highlight the brand’s distinctively coloured card, or just name drop ‘Monzo’. By having the brand itself act as voiceover, and centring the narrative around its unique product features, Monzo was seen to be a prominent part of the ad.

While Monzo have consistently deployed the red card through a multitude of touchpoints, the brand’s lack of familiarity amongst the mainstream means it is not yet an ownable property. Continuing to leverage this – along with further establishing the irreverential style, tone of voice, and a flair for the dramatic – will build advertising efficiency over time.

Compel

The constant reinforcement of product features and benefits made the ad highly informative and newsworthy. Combined with executional elements, this drove perceptions of ‘modernity’, ‘convenience’ and ‘innovation’, fostering favourable attitudes toward the bank.

Despite Monzo’s up-and-coming status, the style and tone of the ad built a level of trust toward the bank, stemming from the believable way in which the messaging was conveyed. Over two-thirds of viewers said the ad conveyed that Monzo is ‘trustworthy’, which is a testament to its success given the brand’s relative obscurity.

However, even though the ad presented a compelling argument as to why consumers should make the switch to Monzo, its persuasive power was only average. Importantly, this wasn’t a function of anything creative related – unfortunately, advertising can’t solve all the challenges a brand faces.

Despite low barriers to entry, consumers are generally hesitant to switch financial institutions due to the perceived risks – particularly to one which is purely digital. Overcoming this inertia will require long-term branding development, with consistent reinforcement of Monzo’s features, benefits and scale across variety of touchpoints – which are ideally as visible as possible.

Final Thoughts

Monzo’s rapid growth has made it a shining light in the UK fintech category, and its first foray into “traditional” advertising has paid handsomely – achieving a Cubery Rating of 63 which places it in the top 30% percentile of our TV advertising database. But in order to take the brand’s growth to the next level, continued marketing investment which reaches the widest possible audience in an emotionally engaging way, is necessary.

In the absence of bricks and mortar, advertising on broadcast TV will in and of itself build credibility for Monzo. Amplifying the ideas seeded in ‘You Make Monzo, Monzo’ through other channels and touchpoints, will see the rate of subscribers accelerate even faster. Monzo are strong out the gate, but the tech ‘unicorn’ now needs to maintain the faith in the power of “traditional” marketing to build long-term profitable growth.

Monzo UK Bank Advertising Testing Performance


This is a self-funded case study using our Advertising Testing solution.

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